Linux on a Acer Aspire 3680

June 25, 2007 at 8:36 pm 27 comments

Acer Aspire 3680 is a budget laptop using the Celeron M processor.

Fedora 7

The 32-bit and 64-bit version of Fedora 7 will work on this machine because Celeron M 520 is a 64-bit processor. Most things will work right out of the box. The only exceptions are:

  • Sound works, but defaults to mute. You must un-mute the controls.
  • The multimedia card slot does not work.
  • Wireless is an Atheros based card and require you to download restricted drivers.

Enabling Sound

The sound driver works, but you cannot hear it because the playback device is set to mute. The playback device is actually “Surround”.

  1. Double-click on the speaker icon in the title bar. This brings up the volume control.
  2. Click on edit preference. This brings up a list of volume control preference.
  3. Check the box for “Surround” and press Close.
  4. A surround control should appear in the volume control. Unmute the surround control and adjust the volume.
  5. Close the volume control.
  6. Right-click on the volume control again and select Preference. This brings up a different volume control preference. This allow you to select which control the main slider is hooked to.
  7. In the Volume control preferences. Select Surround and press the Close button. This connects the volume slider to the surround control.

Unfortunately, all of the other controls on some of the media software like RealPlayer is hooked to the wrong control. Changing the volume control does not change the surround and so you must use the volume control on the menu bar instead of on the media player.

Enabling the Restricted Repository

Unlike Ubuntu, Fedora does not include any restricted codec or drivers, to get those drivers, you need to add the restricted repository.

  1. Log into Fedora as root.
  2. Open a terminal by selecting the menu Applications->System Tools->Terminal.
  3. Type in the following statement:rpm -Uvh
    rpm --import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-livna
    The U parameter tells the rpm to upgrade the package by removing the old package and installing the new one. Because U works even when there is no previous package, you should use “U” instead of “i”, which just installs. The “v” is verbose output and “h” is used with the “v” to print the hash marks. The second line imports the public key for Livna used to check that the packages come from Livna.


The wireless chip in Acer Aspire 3680 is Atheros based, but the exact model will vary from machine to machine. The first Acer 3680 I purchased had an Atheros AR5006EG chipset. When that laptop failed and had to be return 2 days later, the new Acer had an Atheros AR5005G.

  1. You must enable the livna repository. See instructions on how to do this earlier in the blog.
  2. Login as root.
  3. Open a terminal window and type the command:
    yum install madwifi
  4. Select the menu System->Administration->Services. This brings up the service configuration.
  5. Check the checkbox for NetworkManager. You’ll need this applet to switch between different wireless networks.
  6. Close the window. Press Yes when asked to save changes.
  7. Reboot machine. You should see an applet icon on after startup.

Note that I had trouble with getting the madwifi driver working with AR5006G and AR5005EG chipset under 64-bit. I was able to get AR5006G to work fine under 32-bit Fedora 7.


Entry filed under: linux.

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27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. amit  |  June 30, 2007 at 2:23 am

    Thanks a lot!
    I got my sound working on Ubuntu 7.04 on my Acer 3680

  • 2. Luis  |  August 20, 2007 at 2:17 am

    Hi, thanks for the help. I have sound now. I’m running Fedora 7 (I’m completely new to anything Linux) and followed your insturcrtions to try and have the wireless card working (I have an Acer Aspire 3680). All the download and installation process went smoothlly and I didn’t get any error message or anything but I still don’t have wireless. I tried switching the front slider and nothing happens. Do you have any idea or suggestion? Also, if it’s not too much trouble, the built-in Orbicam doesn’t work either. Do you know where can I get the drivers or applications to make it work?
    Thanks in advance for all your help and for having such a friendly and easy to understand journal.

  • 3. paulsiu  |  August 23, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Luis, Acer 3680 uses the Atheros chipset. You’re not going to get any wireless from Fedora because it doesn’t install any restricted drivers. You’re going to have to set up the restricted respository and download the restricted drivers. Alternately, you can use one of the distros that may have the restricted driers.

  • 4. daj  |  September 13, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Thank you so very much for that helpful information. It’s much appreciated. Cheers!

  • 5. marcos  |  October 15, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Valeu colega, estava com problemas na rede wireless no meu fedora7 e essa dica resolveu meu problema.

  • 6. skippy dot net  |  November 12, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    […] mentioned on this post about Linux on the Aspire 3680, the default audio device is seen as surround, which means you need to make a few adjustments in […]

  • 7. upa  |  December 6, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    hi…i have linux distro such ubuntu feisty,mandriva 2008 n openSUSE 10.3 installed on my acer,everything’s work but neither mmc n wifi,can u help me brother ?tks alot

  • 8. anis  |  December 7, 2007 at 4:33 am

    how to install window xp on linux linpus system and how to format all

  • 9. paulsiu  |  December 7, 2007 at 6:41 am


    The wifi is probably in the non-free repository.. There should be an option to enable it. By MMC, do you mean the memory slot?

  • 10. paulsiu  |  December 7, 2007 at 6:42 am


    I don’t know what you are trying to do? Are you attempting to run XP on top of Linux. There are products like Virtualbox or Vmware that can do that.

  • 11. patrick  |  December 17, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Hey guys, i am using an acer aspire 3680 and i am running backtrack 2 on a live cd but i cant get my wireless to work.

    can you guys help me out?

    Email me at….

  • 12. paulsiu  |  December 19, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Patrick, Backtrack 2 should have the Atheo driver. Have you try running modprobe madwifi?

  • 13. Joseph Jakenya  |  February 3, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Can somebody advice me if I can upgrade acer aspire 3680 series to 4GB RAM. Can it work with that? email me at

  • 14. xavier  |  March 8, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    please can anyone help me out with my acer aspire 3680? I installed redhat linux on it and i need almost all the drivers for it. can anyone please tell me hoe to get this linux drivers. my email adress is

  • 15. bratsos22  |  March 25, 2008 at 11:05 am

    that “help” don not help in my model aspire (acer) 3680 to i found, why i cannot hear audio and why fall to play mp3s my “xmedia”…
    System : Back – Track 3 Beta
    Sound : realtec…
    CPU : Celeron M 1.73GHz

  • 16. Josh  |  April 3, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I have an Acer 3680-2022 Laptop.
    I am running Ubuntu 7.10. My sound did not seem to work either.
    By double clicking on the Speaker-
    -Edit from Menu Bar
    – Check surround Box
    – un-Mute it.
    -Increase Volume
    Mine is sounding Great now.

  • 17. Alex  |  May 12, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Thank you for the help,
    I could listen the audio in my acer with fedora 7, and later I am going to install the wireless with your directions.

  • 18. morteza  |  May 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    hi i need to free download vga driver for acer 3680 aspire plz help me

  • 19. lyanmin  |  September 23, 2008 at 10:13 am

    hi i need to free download vga driver for acer intel celeron 1.73 GHz plz help me cos i have no sound on it

  • 20. L.DAWG  |  September 26, 2008 at 10:32 am


  • 21. Keith  |  January 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I’m running Ubuntu Studio on a 3680 and have no problems playing mp3s on Audacious or watching videos but got myself in a knot trying to get sounds out of the recording studios (Rosegarden, Ardour etc). Jack control is running and appears to connect okay. There’s no “Surround” preference by the way.

  • 22. Donna Perygin  |  May 19, 2009 at 8:23 am

    You’re a genius. I never would have thought of the surround trick.

  • 23. Bill Bartmann  |  September 3, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Cool site, love the info.

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